LOS ANGELES, May 12 (Ticker) --Shawn Marion showed that the Phoenix
Suns can rebound and defend a little bit, especially when they
Marion scored 10 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter and
pulled down 19 rebounds as the Suns showed some uncharacteristic
grit in a 94-91 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game
3 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
NBA TV highlights from Suns-Clippers:
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MVP Steve Nash made a clinching jumper in the closing seconds
for the second-seeded Suns, who switched from run and gun to
rough and tough to regain the home-court advantage and take a
2-1 series lead. Phoenix had been 0-7 this season in games decided by three
points or less.
Getting familiar with winning big postseason games in the
STAPLES Center, the Suns withstood a pair of comebacks in the
fourth quarter by the sixth-seeded Clippers, who lost at home
for the first time in the postseason.
"They made a run at us tonight and hit some tough shots in the
fourth quarter," Marion said. "I just think we kept our
composure the whole game and executed our game plan to the
In a 122-97 home loss in Game 2, the Suns were manhandled by
the Clippers, who held a 57-26 advantage on the boards and
scored almost at will. On Friday, Phoenix limited Los Angeles to
42 percent (35-of-83) shooting and nearly broke even on the
boards at 47-46.
Leading the way was Marion, who played all but 50 seconds. He
set an early tone with his defense and rebounding and provided
an offensive spark down the stretch after the Suns had lost an
"I got involved early tonight and got it going," Marion said. "I
started things off and I think everybody came hard after me."
Phoenix had missed 15 straight 3-pointers and trailed, 85-82,
when Marion tied it with a shot from behind the arc with 2:58 left.
Two free throws apiece by Nash and Tim Thomas built the lead to
89-86 before Marion blew past Chris Kaman, threw in a scoop shot
and drew a foul. His free throw made it 92-86 with 49 seconds
"It was just a big bucket," Marion said. "We needed it to win."
The Clippers closed to 92-91 on a three-point play by Elton Brand and two free throws by Quinton Ross. With 28 seconds
remaining, they opted to play defense and were burned when Nash
made a step-back 15-footer from the left wing.
"That was a lucky shot," Nash said. "I got one to go and it was
great timing for us."
Vladimir Radmanovic, who had shot the Clippers back into the
game early in the final period, missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"I had a decent look," Radmanovic said. "I just didn't make it."
Thomas had 19 points and 14 rebounds, Raja Bell scored 14 points
and Nash added 12 and 10 assists for the Suns, who shot just 37
percent (32-of-86) and got all but six points from their
Brand had 20 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and five blocked shots. Radmanovic
scored 18 points and Corey Maggette grabbed 14 boards for the
Clippers, who had averaged 122.5 points in the first two games.
Game 4 is here Sunday.
"We have shown we can win on the road and that we can win
anywhere," Marion said. "With us coming in here and even though
it seems we have played here 12 or so times, the same arena with
a different name on the floor, we still had to have the energy
and intensity to play here."
Playing at a slower pace but with more attention to defense and
rebounding, the Suns controlled most of the first half. A basket
by Boris Diaw with 2:25 left gave them a 48-41 lead before the
Clippers scored the final seven points to tie it at the break.
In the first half, Phoenix had 27 rebounds, one more than they
had in all of Game 2.
The Suns regained control in the third quarter, limiting the
Clippers to 15 points. A follow shot by Marion opened the final
period and gave Phoenix its largest lead at 74-63.
That's when Radmanovic caught fire. He made four 3-pointers and
a reverse layup over the next five minutes to help the Clippers
open a 79-76 lead.
"I came in the fourth quarter and we were down 10 points,"
Radmonovic said. "Somebody has to do something and obviously I
had a hot hand so I kept going. My guys were feeding me."
"No matter what they throw at you, you have to keep your
composure and hang in there," Nash said. "And just by hanging in
there and we did that tonight."